Colour is an intrinsic part of Mexico. Put another way, Mexico IS colour. God was very generous to the Mexicans when He created their rich, diverse land, embedding in its genes the entire chromatic range of His artist's palette. Delicate shades and hues, rich vibrant prominent colours... they got it all, naturally. From the sun-baked deserts of Sonora and Chihuahua, to the snow-capped volcanoes of the Sierra Madre, from the palm-fringed coasts of the Yucatán Peninsula to the dense jungle of Chiapas, Mexico is a land displaying the whole of nature's expansive spectrum. Down the centuries, it has inspired them, colouring every aspect of their life. From the cradle to the grave. Their houses, both inside and outside, their decorative arts, their crafts, their food, their dress, their artistic expression, their fiestas...all these have a very distinct Mexican quality about them... that springs from the colours surrounding them.
Walking through a Mexican market is actually like stepping into the jumbled, chaotic bustle of a spontaneous work of art. Bright red jitomates, fiery red or green chillies, golden mangoes, earthy-brown or black frijoles (beans), papayas cut open to reveal the glowing orangey-red colour inside... fruit and veggies stacked up or arranged in bright, geometric, soaring piles. Or handicrafts and cloths, beautifully decorated, drenched in colour, with recurring patterns. Even the vendors manage to dress in keeping.
Wandering down the streets of small towns or even around different rooms in the same house is like making your way around an artist's colour wheel, but with the typical Mexican juxtaposition of magenta with vermillion, lime green with ocean blue and pumpkin orange, lavender with crimson and amber, coral pink with terracottas. Walls, floors, tiles, pots, ceilings, doors, window frames... any or all may be a celebration of colour.
Those of us who live in Mexico are constantly surprised by the cheerful, vivid walls of a house in the midst of a not-so-beautiful urban landscape, a flashy shawl or jumper standing out against a drab wall, or a plate cradling a gastronomic delight which is a feast not only for the stomach but for the eyes too. Colour creeps in everywhere... even cement mixer trucks are painted with pre-Hispanic motifs or Monarch butterflies, a rotating pattern of reds and yellow, pinks and purples.
Deep blue skies, stone walls and cactus
Turquoise waters near Tulum
Monarch butterflies - Michoacán
Piles of fruit in the market
Bright cloths hanging up in market stall
Day of the Dead offering
Decorated flower pots on balcony - Mazamitla
Huichol bowl decorated with beads
Frida Kahlo's House in Coyoacán
Fresh fruit juice
Pistachio green walls
Canal boats - Xochimilco
Cobbles and vivid colours in San Angel
Arcades with reddish tints
Flower and pods
A spread of Mexican food
Mexico IS colour.